Annual open call for research and development projects 2018

Given decision: 2018-11-14 00:00

Given decision. Formas’ Scientific Council gave its decisions on 14 November 2018 for the annual open call for research and development projects.

Given decision

Decision list 2018-11-14
, 32.4 kB.
(The official given decision will at the latest be announced in Prisma on 23 November.)

Formas funds research for an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable development. The mission of Formas is to promote and support basic and needs-driven research in the areas of the Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning. The research funded should be of highest scientific quality and relevance for Formas' areas of responsibility. Formas may also fund development projects to a limited extent.

News for Formas' annual open call 2018

Formas promotes the accessibility and use of scientific data, provided it does not contravene national legislation. In Formas open call 2018 all project proposals will need to fill out and upload a form on Research Data - Appendix K. If data collection is not part of the project or if it is not possible to make the data available through open sources this should be stated in the Research Data form.

Grants for research and development projects

The purpose of the annual open call is to enable researchers to formulate their own research questions based on societal challenges within Formas' areas of responsibility. In the annual open call Formas welcomes applications within all our areas of responsibility, and multi- or interdisciplinary applications are encouraged.

The earliest start-date for research and development projects is 1 January 2019 and the projects are expected to start during 2019. Funding may be applied for a maximum of three years (36 months).

Main applicants are allowed to submit a maximum of one project proposal to Formas annual call per year. Researchers that are eligible to apply for funding in more than one of the sub-calls (grants for research and development projects, grants for research and development projects for future research leaders and/or mobility starting grants for researchers early in their career) will have to choose one call in which to submit their proposal.

It is not allowed to submit the same proposal with different main applicants to Formas annual open call, this applies to each sub call and across the three sub calls (i.e grants for research and development projects, grants for research and development projects for future research leaders and/or mobility starting grants for young researchers). Such proposals will be rejected.

A researcher may only have one ongoing project grant as project leader (main applicant) from any of Formas' annual open calls. A project is defined as ongoing only during that time which funding is received and does not include the extended period where funds may be used. Applications from researchers who already have an ongoing project grant receiving payment during 2019 from any of Formas' annual open calls will therefore be rejected without further evaluation.

Grants for research and development projects may be used to fund salaries for researchers, doctoral students and technical staff. Salary for doctoral students can be granted for a maximum of three years. Note that the total salary costs granted for an individual researcher, doctoral student or other member of the project may never exceed 100 per cent of a full-time position. This implies that further funding of salary costs cannot be granted for a researcher, doctoral student or other project staff member already receiving full salary funding.

Grants for research and development projects may also be used to fund running costs (e.g. consumables, equipment costs of a value below 500 000 SEK, travel, conferences, publication in Open Access journals, etc.), equipment depreciation costs (max 500 000 SEK) and costs for premises.

The grant funding may be used as Swedish co-funding for EU-projects focused on research and development.

In addition to research projects, Formas also funds development projects to a limited extent. Development projects are defined as systematic, methodical use of research results, scientific knowledge and new ideas to develop new, or significantly improve existing, products, processes or systems (OECD Frascati manual). Joint financing (minimum 50 per cent) is a requirement when applying to Formas for funding for development projects.

Guidelines for funding amounts

Grants for research and development are limited to a maximum of SEK 1 million on average per year over the total number of years of the projects' duration. If the total amount applied for exceeds an average annual amount of SEK 1 million the application will be rejected.

Who can apply

To be eligible to apply for a grant for research and development projects the main applicant and participating researchers must have a doctoral degree. Other personnel (e.g. technical staff) participating in the project do not need to have a doctoral degree. The grant administrator must be a Swedish university, university college, research institute or government agency that fulfills Formas' eligibility requirements for grant administrating organisations (read more on eligible grant administrators here External link.). There is no age limit for applicants or participating researchers, but fully retired researchers cannot obtain funding for their salary.

What the application must contain

  • Project aims and objectives
  • Project description
  • Potential societal value of the research topic and communication with stakeholders/users
  • Budget
  • CV and publication lists for the main applicant and participating researchers
  • Appendix K – Research Data

The application can be submitted in Swedish or English. However, it is recommended that the application is written in English, as Formas mainly utilises international reviewers. If the application is written entirely in Swedish, Formas will translate the application to English before it is sent to the review panel for evaluation. The applicant will not be given the opportunity to read or edit the application after translation. The popular science description must, however, always be written in Swedish, and the brief project description must always be written in both Swedish and English. Note that the budget specification should always be written in English, as it will not be translated to English and will be evaluated by the international panel in its submitted form.

Evaluation of the application

Grant applications will be evaluated in one of Formas review panels for the Annual open call. The applicant may suggest up to three review panels in order of priority from the list in the application form. In cases where Formas considers the competence for evaluation of an application to be more relevant in another review panel than in the three panels suggested, the application may be transferred to another review panel - after consultation with the main applicant. Information about review panel areas. External link.

The review panels are problem-oriented and broadly defined in order to encompass Formas' areas of responsibility. Each panel comprises both active researchers and users of the research results who are qualified to assess potential societal benefit. Researchers comprise the majority of the panel members. The panels possess the expertise required to review applications within the humanities, the natural and social sciences as well as research in the areas of health and engineering within Formas' areas of responsibility. The panels also review multi- and interdisciplinary research and development projects.

Applications are evaluated with respect to Scientific Quality and Societal Relevance. This is addressed by the following five evaluation criteria:

Criteria for Scientific Quality:

  • Research question
  • Method and performance
  • Scientific competence

Criteria for Societal Relevance:

  • Potential societal value of the research topic
  • Communication with stakeholders

All of the criteria must be addressed in the application and applicants are encouraged to clearly and specifically relate the application to these criteria. The applicant is encouraged to be thorough with the structure and clarity of the application, as the evaluation will be based solely on the information provided in the application. Gender and other critical perspectives should be taken into consideration in the project application where relevant. More information about the evaluation criteria and the evaluation process. External link.

Funding decisions

Formas' Scientific Council plans to make its decisions on 14 November 2018. The decisions will be announced the same day on Formas' website. Decisions about funding grants cannot be appealed.

The application system Prisma

Applications for research and development grants are submitted in the application system Prisma. A personal account in Prisma is necessary in order to be able to submit an application.
Link to Prisma. External link.

It is recommended to use the font Arial in size 12 for all text.

The following information should be provided for each application:

Basic information

  • Number of years applied for
  • Project title in Swedish and English (200 characters including spaces)
  • Popular science description in Swedish (4 500 characters including spaces)
  • Brief project description in Swedish and English (1 500 characters each including spaces)

Research programme

  • Specific aims and objectives of the proposed project and a background description containing an overview of the research area (7 000 characters including spaces).
  • Description of the project including a summary of the approach, theory, methods, performance and a plan for scientific publication (15 000 characters including spaces). Include the following points if relevant for the proposed project: i) if the applications concerns a development project, ii) brief description of existing and the need of new basic equipment, iii) brief description of national and international collaborations, iv) confirmation of compliance with international agreements and regulations, v) gender and other critical perspectives, vi) who the main supervisor will be if funding for a doctoral student is requested.
  • Description of the potential societal value of the project and planned communication with stakeholders/users (8 000 characters including spaces). Provide a brief description of the potential societal value of the project and who the relevant stakeholders/users are, as well as how the communication with stakeholders and users will take place (support to address the communication criterion External link.).
  • References included in body text of sections listed above are given in a separate field (5 000 characters including spaces).


  • Salaries, including social-security contributions for each project participant. For existing employment positions, the current salary at the time of application (including social-security contributions) must be used for each of the subsequent years. For new employment positions the starting salary at the grant administrating organisation must be used for each subsequent year. Note that Formas does not grant funding for annual salary increase.
  • State the proportion of activity in the project for all participants, even for project participants who contribute with services in-kind or have other funding for performing the project.
  • Specify running costs and costs for premises (if costs for premise are not included in OH-costs) according to the practice at the grant administrating organisation.
  • Specify equipment depreciation costs if relevant for the project proposal.
  • State indirect costs directly in the project budget according to the practice of the grant administrating organisation. Indirect costs are considered to be OH-costs. Formas does not permit OH- costs to be included in equipment depreciation costs or costs for premises.
  • Budget specification. Here a short motivation for all salary costs and other costs is required. A description of the total budget for the project, including funding from other sources, must also be described. All other costs applied for must be clearly explained, such as participation in conferences, Open Access publication and data repositories, etc. The budget specification is part of the evaluation and should be written in English (a budget specification written in Swedish will not be translated to English).
  • In the field "Other costs" funding from other sources should be indicated. Here funding that is not applied for from Formas but is of relevance for the project should be included.
  • Note that in Prisma amounts should be written out in full, e.g. one million SEK is entered as "1 000 000 SEK".

Ethical considerations


  • Select a subject area.
  • Select at least one, and at most three, SCB codes.
  • Select at least one, and at most three, of the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals that best apply to the project. If more than one goal is considered relevant, the goals should be indicated in order of priority. The most relevant goal should be indicated in the first box. For more information on the Sustainable Development Goals, please click here External link..
  • State at least one, and at most five, key word(s) that describe the project.


The following appendix can be uploaded if relevant for the project:

  • Appendix J. Illustrations. If figures, tables or images are needed to describe the proposed project, an appendix may be uploaded. Only one attachment (PDF) with a maximum size of 4 MB can be uploaded.

The following appendix is mandatory and must be uploaded for all projects:

  • Appendix K – Research Data. Appendix K should be filled out and uploaded for all project applications. If data collection is not part of the project or if it is not possible to make the data available through open sources this should be stated in the Research Data form. Please note that Swedish universities, university colleges and other authorities are responsible for the safe storage of data collected as part of their activities. Funding to enable data storage that can be regarded to be within the responsibility of these authorities must not be included in the application. Formas recommend that scientific data is published within a reasonable period of time and made accessible via relevant national and/or international organisations for data publication. Use this template for appendix K , 875.2 kB..

Grant administrating organisation

  • Select your grant administrating organisation and add the project department or unit where the project is based. Read more about Formas requirements for grant administrating organisations here. External link.
  • Approved grant administrating organisations are prelisted in a menu in Prisma. If your research organisation is not included in the list, contact your organisation as it must create an organisation account in Prisma.
  • A registered application is automatically sent to the grant administering for approval, once the call closes. The administrating organisation has seven calendar days to sign the application.

Review panels

  • Select the review panel External link. where you wish to have your application evaluated. Please add in order of priority two alternative review panels.


  • The main applicant invites participating researchers (i.e. researchers with a doctoral degree that are considered as co-applicants) and participating administrators (not a part of the project, but persons that help you fill out the application form). Participants must themselves be registered and have their own personal account in Prisma. The main applicant invites participants by searching their name and e-mail in Prisma (note that correct spelling of names and e-mails is required).


The applicant retrieves the relevant information from their personal profile in Prisma to be added the application. Participating researchers add their CV-information from their personal account in Prisma and should ensure that their CV in Prisma is complete and up to date.

The information should include:

  • Education: Post-graduate (doctoral) education, undergraduate and graduate education.

  • Professional history: Current position and relevant previous longer-term positions, postdoctoral residencies, research exchange visits relevant to the described research project, as well as any extended period of interruption to the research (for example parental leave, illness, military or public service).
  • Merits and awards:
    • Associate professorships
    • Supervision, doctoral students, postdoctoral students, and exam project students; state the total number in each respective category and provide the names of the most relevant supervisions (max 10).
    • Grants awarded in a competition, state the most relevant grants (max 10).
    • Prizes and awards, state the most relevant prizes and awards (max 10).
    • Additional merits, including bibliometric summary: The main applicant and the participating researchers must provide a brief summary of their bibliometric profiles for the past 5-year period and in total (max 800 characters including spaces). This must include the following: i) The number of publications of different types (such as articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, books and other monographs, conference contributions, popular science contributions), ii) Any other publications/citation specifications relevant to the research field of the applicant.
      Under additional merits state also other merits relevant to the application, such as popular science texts and documented experience of collaboration and research communication (max 10).
  • Intellectual property: For example patents and public access software programs developed by the applicant (max 10).

Publication list

  • The main applicant and participating researchers should specify up to ten of their most relevant publications. Observe that the publications should be linked from the applicants' personal account in Prisma.

General instructions for applicants to Formas
External link.
Grant administrating organisations External link.
How Formas processes your application
External link.
Formas ethical policy
External link.
Apply in Prisma
External link.
About Prisma
External link.
Prisma user support manual
External link.
Support to address the communication criterion
External link.
FAQ 2018 External link.

Contact information

Contact information to responsible research officers can be found here External link..

For more specific questions relating to the call please contact:

Karin Önneby, Senior Research Officer, Formas
Telephone: +46 (0)8-775 4022

Linda Bergqvist Ampel, Senior Research Officer, Formas
Telephone: +46 (0)8-775 4062

Formas telephone information, +46(0)8-775 4005, and chat services can answer general questions related to the call from April 9 to April 12: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (closed for lunch 12:00-13:00).

For technical support Prisma

IT support Prisma External link.

o doctoral students, postdoctoral students, and exam project students; state the total number in each respective category and provide the names of the most relevant supervisions (max 10).

Page manager: Karin Önneby

Updated:1 February 2019